That's a wrap.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Any time I'm shooting stills out on the street just for fun, I'm very sensitive to trying to not be an annoying guy with a camera.
That's not always possible in street photography, but just because I might have the law on my side, the law doesn't dictate my morality.
For the most part, I try to not be annoying with my camera.
If I get fewer shots than someone who is more shameless, then I'm okay with that. I work in a job where I don't have always have a choice.
Minding my own business isn't always enough.
Sometimes it's difficult even when I'm trying to not be confrontational. Some property owners and some people who work security have an animosity towards photographers that doesn't seem quite rational.
Several friends and I were downtown over the weekend. We just wanted to take photos.
That didn't seem like such a difficult proposition.
We had a pleasant experience nearly everywhere we went. I made a few long exposure shots and I think we all were just happy to have gotten out of the house.
I want to mention that at 7th and Figueroa a security card came out and told us his bosses wanted us off their property while we took photos.
No argument. We moved two feet to the public side of the sidewalk. Maybe I should qualify that and say, we had no pointless argument.
We weren't going to convince the security guard to see our point of view and, heck, we were already done shooting from the spot he wanted us to vacate.
I wasn't interested in persuing a confrontation simply on principle.
Maybe it's worth it to go back someday and try to prove our point, but yesterday I intended to take pictures and the more time spent proving a point, means less time for photos.
The rest of the day seemed pretty mellow and for the most part without incident.
We wandered the streets of downtown for while. Took some shots and I think we all enjoyed talking camera gear with fellow photographers.
A production company happened to be driving around shooting a Lexus commercial. It didn't hold much interest for me and I didn't even try to shoot it as they drove past us several times.
Near the end of the day, we were at a corner to regroup and decided where we wanted to have a meal.
A guy from the Lexus commercial was blocking foot traffic and told us to not take pictures.
Yeah, the guy said, don't take pictures of their cars.
Okay, the law can be complicated, but some parts of it are pretty simple. If you're doing something outside in the public view, don't expect privacy. If I can see it, there are no laws that prevent me from photographing it.
I made sure I took a few shots.
What I should have done was make sure my flash wasn't on. The guy came back and let me know I had ruined a take with my flash.
Well, that wasn't my intention and I apologized for my a-hole behavior. The commercial guy also told me to erase my photos.
I told him, nope. Let's just agree that I'm an a-hole, but I'm not erasing any of my photos.
He walked away, so I'm pretty sure he agreed with me.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I'm not trying to be philosophical, but life isn't everything it can be if you don't sometimes take chances. That's why I'm out of the general assignment pool to cover primarily politics.
Risking my comfy general assignment position at the station isn't what I set out to do, but I'd fallen into a rut of my own making (mostly by being considered a dependable news photographer).
One of my best qualities isn't in how I shoot the news. In my opinion, my strength has been in my ability to always just get the job done.
That also extends to helping my fellow photographers get the job done. I'm someone who can be counted on to pick up their phone and help out with tech questions even while I'm racing towards a deadline.
Not everyone thinks like me, but if only one of us makes slot, then it's still a fail.
Yeah, I have a bit of a hero complex (and a healthy dose of ego to go with it), but I love what I do (and sometimes, yes, I do actually swoop in and save the day).
Dave Bryan, our Political Reporter, was having trouble. He works nightside on a difficult deadline for an earlier show (9pm -vs- 10pm) and his stories are often more complicated and generally he gets twice as long (two and a half to three+ minutes) as most general assignment stories for the 9pm newscast.
We're in the number two market in the country. Most photographers at our station can handle that workload, but I believe we can all agree, it's not an easy assignment.
Nope, it's not easy and it doesn't take much of a bump in the road to derail an otherwise basic shoot, edit, liveshot type of night.
A while back, I volunteered a suggestion. Dave and I have been through a lot on the road covering politics. Our trip to both the Democratic and Republican conventions last year was one of my most epic assignments EVER! I get along with Dave and he's always shown that he appreciates my work and abilities.
"F-BOMB, let me work with Dave every night."
(Sorry, for the f-bomb, but sometimes that's how I talk.)
Some people think I'm crazy. Others are just happy it's no longer a rotation and they're sort of dodging a bullet.
Surprisingly, there was some reluctance to take me out of the general assignment mix. There was a time when we had fewer resources for SNG (satellite truck) work and I do a lot of the training and I fill in for the Chief Photographer and, well, shucks, I guess I'm just a handy guy to have around.
Somebody in the chain of command decided to take a chance and give it a shot (or maybe Biljanic flipped a coin). So, long story not-quite-as-long, but not exactly short, covering politics with Dave Bryan has been my regular assignment since mid-December.
The stories have been pretty eclectic.
A marijuana initiative, Governor Brown, Sheriff Lee Bacca, the drought, President Obama, the Department of Water and Power and pretty much everything Dave has worked on in the last couple of months in the field is what my assignment has been.
Dave doesn't usually do high speed chases, bear sightings or Justin Bieber.
Well, he would if the bear or Beiber were running for office, but I think you get the idea.
What's it been like?
It has been weird (marijuana initiative) and cool (Yoko Ono sighting during a Mayor Garcetti interview at The Berverly Hills Hotel), but at least always interesting and all the stress and problems that have plagued Dave's 9pm hit have gone away.
(Heh-heh, those first two examples are interchangeable.)
Have the problems really gone away? We still have problems and we make mistakes too. The problems maybe haven't gone away so much as we've managed to squash them and make it on the air. No. Matter. What.
As for mistakes, well, hey, shut up you! (cough-cough, Melrose)
It's not always pretty (I was dubbed the King of Funk for one particular home brewed on-air graphic), but Dave's happy and I feel better about the work I'm doing now, more than I have been in a long time.
We don't know how long this assignment will last. One thing about a news operation is that it's always changing. We can worry about that or we can just get out there every day and Lord, try to do a good job.
Worry? Yeah, you know what? (F-BOMB it) We're doing that second thing.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Waiting for Barack. . .again. Seems like I'm always standing around on the street waiting for this dude's motorcade. It's all good. I waited a couple hundred years for him, a little while on the streets of Palm Springs isn't really much of a deal.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Who knew that Duke Ellington wrote an opera? Personally, I did not know that.
When I saw that the Long Beach Opera would be staging a production of this little known work, I wanted to check it out. I thought it would be a fun performance to attend.
Then, out of the blue, I was asked by my friend, Flutprayer, if I'd be interested in shooting still photos during a dress rehearsal.
Just like that it went from cool to VERY cool.
The timing couldn't have been better. It had been an ambitious vacation week and this would be a great way to spend a day that I hadn't otherwise planned out.
My thanks to Fluteprayer for thinking of me.
Going into it, I didn't know what exactly I should expect. Sometimes these situations can be tense and the last thing people might want is camera distraction.
I also want to be careful that what I'm doing isn't putting another photographer out of a gig.
Every situation is different and I have to be on my toes.
Keep in mind, facing the unknown and adapting to the environment is a big part of what I'm paid to do working in news.
As uncomfortable as it is for me, I have to figure it must be pretty bad for the folks I'm taking aim at with my camera.
I mean, come on, just who is this guy taking pictures?
In news, I've been around long enough to know what needs to be done when I get to an assignment. I know what shots I'll likely need to put the story together. I know what I need to fill one minute and thirty seconds.
When it comes to shooting stills in an unfamiliar environment, really I just do my best to follow the light and the action and try not to draw too much attention to myself.
After it's all over, I try not to compare my shots to what anyone else might have done. I look at my photos with a critical eye and try to find what worked. If there's anywhere I can improve, I'll make note of that also and keep it in mind for the next time.
The show was fun. I'm told the photos were well received and that's great to know.
My time is never as free as I'd like it to be, but at least I know if I have the time, then maybe I'll be lucky enough to have the opportunity.